Sister Germaine Hustedde recently opened a letter that began, “Dear Sister, my name is Ayoub. I don’t know you, but I love you.” Ayoub and his brother, Jeremiah, are residents of A Caring Place, a PHJC ministry founded by Sister Germaine in 2008 to house and educate homeless boys in Kenya, many who are also AIDS orphans.
As most Poor Handmaid endeavors go, it began to meet the needs of the time. While walking to the bus station to catch a ride to a nearby city, Sister Germaine noticed boys rummaging through garbage in search of food. She observed one child pluck a deep green cabbage leaf from the trash and wipe it on his pants as a crowd of boys gathered around him. Expecting a fight, she observed something transforming instead. The boy tore the leaf into pieces, sharing a portion with each hungry child. Tears welled in her eyes as she recalled the event. “That’s caring, which is how A Caring Place got its name,” she said.
On April 9, 2017, a lucky winner will be chosen to receive the quilt created by PHJC Sisters Germaine, Julia Huelskamp, Eileen Sullivan, and Magdala Oswald to raise funds for A Caring Place. The Sisters meditated on their hopes for the boys with each stitch. What started out as a humble, converted slaughterhouse with the capacity to care for 15 boys has grown into a place that provides housing, food, and an education for over 100 boys at a time. Through grants and fundraising, A Caring Place raises operating costs, which amount to $19,000 annually. The boys go onto trade school or college, and often keep in touch with Sister Germaine through letters.
She also received a letter from James recently. One of her original 15 boys, that letter began, “Congratulations Sister. You are now a Grandma!” The letter updated her about James’ career path as an auto mechanic and taxi driver, about his marriage, and the newborn son he and his wife recently welcomed.
While she’s given a lot to the boys, Sister Germaine said she’s gotten so much more. “Kids who haven’t grown up with much are grateful,” she said. “Imagine the loss if thousands of children are deprived of their basic rights and needs. With A Caring Place, the boys will be a credit to God and their county.”